Preggers part 3. Bodily changes, sex, preventing stretch marks and perineal injury.

health pregnancy Nov 30, 2020
Dr Cheryl Kam - Blog - Functional medicine coach - Singapore - Preggers part 3. Bodily changes, sex, preventing stretch marks and perineal injury

An injured perineum? Stretch marks? What issues about sex are you facing? Read this piece that contains tips on pregnancy and perineal health.

We've come to the last part of my pregnancy confessions (first edition published on Sassymama) where I'm going to drop my best tips for preventing stretch marks, some truth bombs about perineal injury ie torn/cut bits, and the stuff you really need for the 4th trimester.

I know a bunch of you are seasoned mummies, and/or routinely work with birthing mothers so do reply with YOUR best tips too, I always want to improve these lists!  
Confessions for the 3rd trimester and beyond...

#1 Stretch marks are a sign of zinc deficiency.


In my world of nutritional medicine, stretch marks are a sign of zinc deficiency.

Additionally, elastin fibres break more easily in dehydration, poor nutrition in vitamin C, good quality amino acids, antioxidants.  

As I always say, good skin is an insider job, so the rows and rows of stretch mark creams are not going to reverse or prevent, if there are foundational issues above that have not been addressed.

Having enough zinc (red meat, wheatgerm), Vitamin A (sweet potatoes, carrots, dark greens) and Vitamin E (sunflower seeds, avocados) can do wonders for improving skin elasticity and therefore preventing tiger stripes. If you suspect a deficiency, please get checked out by a practitioner who is Nutrient-aware.



#2 Sex drive during pregnancy RISES


In healthy pregnancies, due to the hormone and bodily changes, sex drive during pregnancy actually RISES, so it is worth being prepared for such a phenomenon.  

In many situations however this can take a dip, and I would take it as a signal to check for foundational health pieces:  Are you getting the sleep you need (This may be 2-3 hours more than your usual pre-pregnancy sleep requirements), the hydration, the nutrition, and of course if you're suffering from musculoskeletal pains from injury, then it certainly will contribute to not feeling like sex much.  

Stress, uncertainty, and other changes in the family constellation can throw up all kinds of deep feelings of jealousy, worry, anger, loss, and is a chance to either address it and draw closer to your partner, or disconnect and drift even further apart.  
I found it could really go two ways here, depending on what we choose to do with it, and the help we were willing to seek about it.  

#3 I did not know how much say I had about my own perineum


Until I worked with and doula and more recently a fierce mummy advocate midwife, I did not know how much say I had about my own perineum.  Whether I would need to be cut and stitched or not, I thought was completely the doctor's decision (lucky me I'm a doc, but I wasn't THE OBGYN).  

When I trained, the cut and stitch was the norm.  When I birthed my son, I got a stitch even though I didn't exactly need one.  But when I birthed my daughter and got a tear and decided to heal naturally from it, MY GOD it was so much less painful, I really question these so-called norms now.  Who the heck made them up???

#4 Pre-stretching the perineum


I'm an advocate of either the perineal massage or the Epi-no for preventing perineal injury and training the pelvic floor.  Doing the epi-no for my #1, helped me not tear very much!  I barely needed a stitch.  I wish I didn't get stitched.  The stitch however artful hindered healing.  

For #2 I didn't any pre-stretching, thinking I would naturally be more stretchy but it turns out I shrunk back into place so I got a bigger tear for my complacency.  But I healed naturally and back to my previous shape and size on strict bed rest for 1-week post-birth, and complied with confinement.  

For #3, I bought the Epi-no.  :)

#5 Too much of the wrong exercise


Too much of the wrong exercise, not conditioning the body properly, lifting the toddler, all these things can lead to injury, not to mention affect the journey of the fetus in the womb.
Chronic carrying of another baby has been anecdotally attributed to the fetus taking an occiput posterior position, leading to a more painful back labor.  
My exercise of choice would be prenatal yoga, prenatal pilates, walking, and swimming.  

Overworking the core during pregnancy leads to split abs or diathesis recti, difficult to treat once it occurs.  No pushups, planks, crunches, or twists.  

#6 No ONE really can be prepared for fourth trimester


The all important fourth trimester, that NO ONE really can be prepared for.  Not even ourselves as a 2nd/3rd/4th time mum.  

Every breastfeeding journey is different, every child will be different.  The state of your body in any time in history, will be different.
But these are the things I'll be having handy, and could be of use to you when the time comes.  
  • A confinement nanny that you vibe with
  • Postnatal check ins with a midwife or doula 
  • lactation consultant on speed dial
  • Sitz bath salts, healing sprays and all the things from Herbalist and doula Johanna Wagner
  • Nipple shields for when the chaffing gets too bad
  • Coconut oil or Lanolin for any kind of crack or wound.
  • Velvety soft reusable cloth pads (because plastic pads are just icky, for us and for the sea animals)
  • Reusable cloth breast pads because we will leak.  
  • The habit and skill of self breast milk expression in the shower to prevent blocked ducts and mastitis way before they happen!  
  • Your phone - to reach out to anyone, to order anything, to lean on support groups anytime of the night when it gets lonely
  • Patience, love, beautiful music, nice essential oil blends and the art of delegating.  
  • A supportive partner and family who will nag you back to your room when you begin to over-do it.  
  • A massage lady who will come to your home and massage your breastfeeding shoulder aches away, and often ends up a huge shoulder to cry on.  
Next week, we firmly step into Christmas season! December 2020, the end of this awakening year, or the beginning of the awakened future?  

Still feel like that vibrant life is still beyond your reach?
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